Solar tiles aren’t just for roofs anymore. Platio, a Budapest, Hungary-based tech company, has just installed the first solar pavement for use on a residential driveway.
“Roofs are not the only surfaces that can be used for solar energy production,” said Platio co-founder and engineer Imre Sziszák. “Paved areas absorb solar radiation all day long as well. The walkable solar panels of Platio can utilize this new source of clean energy.”
The system consists of interlocking units called Platio solar pavers. Each paver is made from 400 recycled PET plastic bottles for a product more durable than concrete, according to the company’s product video. Pavement can be installed in sizes of 10 to 30 square meters and is suitable for driveways, terraces, balconies and patios.
The energy generated by Platio tiles is fed back to the household’s power network. A 20-square-meter solar pavement can cover the yearly energy consumption of an average household, according to the video.
The developers aimed for aesthetically pleasing tiles that would look good in a driveway and would increase a home’s energy efficiency. The solar pavers are available in black, red, blue and green. Hardened glass tiles protect the solar cells. They are anti-slip, so people can safely walk on them, and the tiles are designed to be able to bear the weight of a car occasionally driving over.
Electric car drivers can also use the solar paving system to fuel their vehicles. Inhabitat previously reported on a 50-square-foot solar sidewalk Platio installed at an EV charging station in Budapest. Other uses include connecting a Platio solar paver system in an outdoor square to benches equipped with digital boxes, from which people can charge their mobile devices. Pavers could also fuel streetlights on nighttime walking paths. Unlike roof-mounted solar tile systems, paved areas with good sunlight access have a larger-scale potential for energy production.
Images via Platio